UK 'very reluctant' to arm Syria rebels

By REUTERS
June 9, 2013 18:21

LONDON - Britain said on Sunday it and other countries were "very reluctant" to arm rebels in Syria even as it warned that success on the battlefield by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad was undermining chances of a Geneva peace conference.

Britain and France worked together last month to lift a European Union embargo on arms shipments to Syrian rebels, giving them the flexibility to send weapons to forces who complain they are dramatically outgunned.

But Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday that no such decision had yet been taken and promised for the first time to give lawmakers a vote in parliament if and when it was.

"There would be a vote one way or the other," he told BBC TV, saying Britain and the world were faced with an agonizing foreign policy and ethical dilemma.

"People have understandable concerns about the idea of sending arms to anybody in Syria and we'd all be very reluctant to do that," he said.


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